An Update from Zac’s Place & Easter Reflection

Warmest greetings to all of you who take some interest in what is happening at Zac’s Place.

Here’s a brief update on our engagement with the local relief effort during the Covid-19 pandemic and an Easter reflection.

Liz brings us a monologue from the perspective of Mary the mother of Jesus, Jayne leads us in a prayer and Sammy & Kylie send a blessing from Wexford in Ireland. We hope you enjoy and are encouraged … ‘may the Saviour watch over you’.

Links referenced in this video also include:

Sammy & Kylie Horner https://sammyhorner.bandcamp.com/

Liz Hinds  https://notanotherwannabewriter.blogspot.com/

Zac’s Place http://www.zacsplace.org

GET INVOLVED

Swansea Together – Tackling Coronavirus: https://www.facebook.com/SwanseaTogether/ Swansea Council:  https://www.swansea.gov.uk/communityvolunteers

SCVS volunteering info: https://www.scvs.org.uk/coronavirus-vols

A Video Update From Zac’s Place

Like so many places, Zac’s Place has had to temporarily close its doors as the Covid-19 pandemic impacts our city. Sean Stillman explains what has been going on in recent weeks to see people supported in the city, especially those who rely on us and others like us, to get through each day. He goes on to explain how you can get involved in volunteering in Swansea during these days, and where you can get support. Sean also brings a refection from Mark’s Gospel and Singer Songwriter Phil James closes with a moving hymn, singing in both Welsh & English. The old red door may be temporarily closed, but the work still goes on. #SwanseaTogether

Zac’s Place is mission church and initiative of Exousia Trust, Registered Charity 1002581 http://www.zacsplace.org

Links referenced in this video also include:

Swansea Council LAC https://www.swansea.gov.uk/coronaviru…

SCVS volunteering info: https://www.scvs.org.uk/coronavirus-vols

Swansea Together – Tackling Coronavirus: https://www.facebook.com/SwanseaToget…

Phil James: http://www.phil-james-music.com/

Sean’s Radio Wales ‘Wednesday Word’ Transcript, 25 March 2020.

Broadcast from home via telephone this time, rather than in the studio due to the Covid-19 emergency, here’s a slightly edited version of Sean’s transcript from 25.3.20 on Eleri Sion’s Show.

Everyone’s life and routines have been turned upside down in recent days and our house is no exception.  There’s skateboards sitting idle. There’s a drum kit that won’t be going in and out for gigs. There’s a school prom that won’t be happening, but to my daughter’s relief, no exams to take either. Like many others in the same boat, my wife and one of our son’s work has dried up.

Many of us are worried at the moment – and that’s understandable. But, do you know what? …  even in the early stages of this crisis, I’ve seen some signs of hope.

As you know, at Zac’s Place we do lot of work in Swansea with people who are vulnerable and often live on the streets.  Last week I had a call from the NHS homeless outreach team, wanting to talk. I was desperate for advice to know what to do for the best in these days, but to my surprise, they wanted our help. Ahead of the game as always, they recognised the need to see every homeless or vulnerably housed person, not just quickly accommodated but also fed.

In a matter of days, volunteers have jumped to action alongside the council and welfare agencies. Already, this week in our area, around 160 vulnerable people have been safely fed each day from a community kitchen, with food delivered to their hostel or B&B. Of course, there’s huge challenges – how do you encourage people to isolate that don’t want to be? But we can try our best.

And there are surprises too. Some individuals who usually refuse support, are seeing the seriousness of what’s happening. They’re reaching out to take the help because they trust us, as we plead with them. And they in turn are reaching out to their mates and persuading them to take refuge.

And here’s the hope. In our communities, people are already working together to make sure others aren’t forgotten. And of course, it’s not just the homeless who are vulnerable. If we ourselves are not vulnerable, then within a very short distance from us, in our street someone will be.

As a Christian, I believe that none of us escapes God’s love. With his mates alongside, Christ reached out to those who would often have been ignored. And that’s how each of us can make a difference today.  Who in our street, our community is in danger of being overlooked?  Have a think – who are they?

None of us knows how long this pandemic will last.

But knowing you’re not forgotten, might be one of the most precious gifts, we can bring anyone in the coming days. 


Sean Stillman. This a slightly edited version of the script from his ‘Wednesday Word’ for BBC Radio Wales, 25.3.20. (Weds Word producer Lisa Hawkins). The original is on BBC Sounds at approximately 1.47 in.

The Pro’s and Con’s of volunteering at Christmas

Christmas is a popular time for us to receive offers of help among the homeless and street community – maybe with helping at meals over this time. Quite often we have to turn away help and I hope in these few paragraphs it will explain why.

Please do not be offended if you have offered your help and services with us at Zac’s Place, or indeed to any other agency working with homeless and vulnerable people, over the Christmas period and not been given the opportunity to volunteer.

We appreciate people’s enthusiastic support and interest at Christmas time, but the reality is, helping out at a soup kitchen or drop-in centre can actually be very specialised work. It is not something that complete strangers can just drop in, in numbers and help out easily. Much of the work is with very fragile and sometimes unpredictable, volatile and chaotic people who respond to the support given to them best, when it’s built on long-term relationships.

At Zac’s place we have a very dedicated team of year round volunteers. One team of volunteers alongside support staff from the Wallich, open up at breakfast time 250 days a year. Another team of approximately a dozen volunteers staff our coffee bar and soup kitchen on a Thursday night which opens for 46 weeks every year.

In these, we work carefully in partnership with the City & County of Swansea rough sleeper’s task group, other organisations like the Wallich, Caer Las, Missionaries of Charity, Salvation Army, the Night Shelter, the Big Issue, prison chaplaincy and local drugs projects to ensure that the people we aim to help and support are looked after as best we can within safe boundaries of integrity and confidentiality.

Because of this, it is not easy for us to just open our doors to accept voluntary help for a single occasion to people who we simply do not know. Some of the people we support are very vulnerable and we would not want to expose them to any more potential risk than they already experience in daily life.

We and many of the other organisations in the city welcome volunteer support throughout the year. If you would like to support those who are homeless and vulnerable for other reasons, over the Christmas period, our advice would be to get involved with a project during the rest of the year in preparation, building up relationships and where there are specific ongoing needs for volunteers, financial support and other practical items also.

If the only time that you have available is over the Christmas period we understand this and would welcome other ways of contributing – drop in with some non perishable food tins with ring pulls , some toiletries or simply a gift of some jars of coffee and bags of sugar to keep the everyday wheels turning are really helpful things. New socks and underwear are always welcome – small pots of Vaseline to help keep trench foot at bay make a difference. Often when places of refuge are volunteer led, they are also donation funded – practical items are really helpful and will make a difference.

Thank you for your interest, support and understanding – with warmest Christmas greetings from us all at Zac’s Place